Well, we’ve been working on Hipcycle for about 5 months, and we’re just about set to go live with the site tomorrow, October 1 (which also happens to be my Dad’s 69th birthday…happy birthday, Dad!).
I couldn’t be more excited to share the site with you. I’m really pleased with how it has turned out, and I’m ecstatic about the quality and diversity of merchandise we’ll be carrying. We have well over 300 products, and we have plans to add dozens, if not hundreds, more every month. Please come and check in every now and then and see what’s new, or even better, sign up for our newsletter, and we’ll get you the Hipcycle Insider, our e-mail newsletter, straight to your inbox.
As you know by now, Hipcycle is the embodiment of a concept that has been kicking around in my head since I was first exposed to the world where business and the environment intersect. In 1996, I was involved in the organization of China’s first major international conference on the environment, which included, among other delegates, representatives from over 25 major multi-national firms. Some of those companies had good reasons for being involved, and others were simply greenwashing. But they all thought that their involvement was somehow good for their business.
It got me thinking, and thinking some more, and I just never stopped thinking about this: why do most companies, and also consumers, make decisions that are good for the environment? Environmental awareness has been around for a long time, and pretty much everyone these days understands, at least on an intellectual level, that not taking care of our planet means that there will be major repercussions in the future. People see signs of that today, but it is not yet extreme enough for many to affect an actual change in their actions. Yes, there are progressive companies and individuals out there that make decisions that favorably impact the environment just because it is the right thing to do (and thank goodness for them!), but the number of companies and individuals making these good decisions will not grow unless environmental decisions are better aligned with economic decisions. Specifically one of two things needs to happen:
- The cost (in terms of quality, effort and/or dollars) of making an economic “green decision” comes down to be equivalent to that of a “mainstream” economic decision.
- The cost of making a mainstream economic decision goes up.
There are examples of this all around us:
- Sales of hybrid cars, which are priced at a significant premium to their all-gas-powered equivalents, don’t show major upticks until the cost of gas goes above $4 or so a gallon.
- The use of plastic shopping bags in the District of Columbia dropped by 78% in a year after a 5 cent fee was imposed on each bag used by consumers. Similarly, states that have bottle deposit laws have much higher glass recycling rates.
- Sales of Clorox’s Green Works cleaning products, which are more expensive, dropped by 40% between 2008 and 2011 as the economy declined.
- Consumer goods companies often make decisions to reduce the amount of packaging that ship with their products once they realize that a reduction will lead to greater supply chain efficiencies or otherwise reduce their costs (and help their margins.)
In my own small way, by focusing on upcycled products, I want Hipcycle to make it easier for you to make purchasing decisions that are better for the environment. Many folks will not consistently pay more for products simply because they are better for the environment, even though they know they should. And they certainly won’t accept a lesser product just because it is eco-friendly. People have busy lives with many competing priorities, including making important decisions about how to spend their hard-earned dollars. I totally get that.
Hipcycle addresses this challenge by striving to offer products that are reasonably priced and of high quality, but which also have the added benefit of being environmentally friendly. If you are looking for furniture, housewares, or something else for you or your home, why wouldn’t you buy at Hipcycle?
Thanks again for your support, and see you at the launch.